• O Lord our God, other masters besides You have ruled us; But through You alone we confess Your name. [Isa 26:13 NASB]. Your face, LORD, do I seek. [Psa 27:8 ESV].

A Sidenote on the Crucifixion of Christ

In the nineteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Pilate asked the Jews whether he should crucify their king. The Jewish leaders, who, in chapter eight (Joh 8:33), denied their enslavement to Rome, now proclaimed, “We have no king but Caesar!” [v15]. In the account of Matthew, Pilate washed his hands of this innocent man’s blood in front of the crowd and they shouted, “His blood be on us and on our children!” [Mat 27:24-25 ESV]. The Apostle John ended this account, “So he delivered [Christ] over to them to be crucified.” [19:16]. And they took Him to be crucified.

The Jews knew the truth; they studied the Scriptures and understood the signs of the Messiah. To point this out is not judging. However, it is natural for our sin nature to want to judge the Jews for their actions – by this, I mean we disdain and condemn them as if we would never have been guilty of this same sin.

Paul talked about this attitude in the Epistle to the Romans. In chapter one, he said God has condemned those who suppress the truth and encourage others who do the same. Then he listed some of their vile sins. It is easy, when reading an account like this to “know” people this applies to and feel superior in our righteousness because we have not stooped so low – that is, we judge. How often do we do this when scrolling through the news? But in the second chapter, Paul warned the reader not to have this attitude because the one who judges does the same thing. We all have sinned and fall short . . . (Rom 3:23).

So consider this: What was the sin of the Jews and why did they reject the Messiah? As we stated in the last paragraph, the Jews knew the signs of the Messiah because they studied the Scriptures. In fact, Jesus confronted them:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me. [Joh 5:39 ESV].

The Jews rejected the Messiah because they were concerned more for their own position, power and comfort than they were about the kingdom of Heaven. If they followed the Messiah, they would have to set aside their positions and status; they would have to surrender control of their lives and their aspirations. Their lives would not be the same. And, probably the hardest part: if they followed the Messiah, they would lose the approval of their peers. You could say they had no fear of God, because they feared man more than they feared God.

Now, before we judge them and jump all over them, let us look at ourselves: Most professing, modern, American Christians are NOT working for the kingdom of Heaven – we are working for our own kingdom – and, when we pray, this is the substance of our prayers. We don’t want to lose control of our lives. We have our goals and we struggle to convince God to honor our plans rather than surrender to Him. We have convinced ourselves God loves us and wants us to be happy. Jesus warned us, if the light within us is darkness, how great is this darkness (Mat 6:23).

The Messiah has come. He is the light shining in the darkness – even our darkness. We acknowledge this but we really don’t have time to spend with Him – to get into the Word and prayer. We are not interested in taking up our cross to follow Him – especially if this alters our plans or our worldview. And, besides, we are busy and these are busy times.

We are told God loves us just the way we are – so we do not fear Him. Instead, we fear man and don’t want to do anything that will look foolish. In fact, if the choice came about to crucify ourselves or crucify the Messiah, though we claim we would never crucify Him, by our daily living, this is what we do.

Jesus asked the question: If you seek your own glory and the approval of man but do not seek the glory of God, how can you believe or be saved? (Joh 5:44).

Therefore, consider the Jews and consider our own life: Our sin causes us to be blind to God’s leading. It causes us to focus on our kingdom rather than the Messiah. Just like the Jews, we have a choice to surrender to the Messiah and follow Him or we can crucify Him and continue on with our dreams and aspirations.

True repentance is to turn from our sin, leave our idols, pick up our cross and follow Christ.

Who will be our king: the Messiah or Caesar?

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